You can dress me up as a country girl, but it isn’t always a sure bet you can take me out. Case in point, the other night.
Here are the facts:
- I had 20 minutes to get to the feed store before it closed. I had just found out the chicks were out of food and they were peeping loudly in protest.
- The speed limit on County Road 123 increases drastically just past the turn to Brush Hollow, therefore, I was accelerating.
- In the late dusk, quite past twilight but before pitch black, the sky absorbed the light from the brights of my car.
- I didn’t hit the cows. Or the cowboys.
On a dark country road, it is always a good idea to have the brights on, just to extend your sight distance. But, at late dusk with the aforementioned issue of headlight absorption, the frantically arm pumping horseback rider complete with herding dog off to the left side of the road showed up in my line of sight at about the time I passed her. I slowed down immediately, surmising the cowgirl was angry that I was driving past her at 50 miles an hour while she was out riding at night.
In the same instant, I noticed erratically moving headlights too narrow for a car in a vacant field south of the road. Probably just harebrained teenagers on their 4 wheeler plunging through the brush and prairie dog holes. It wasn’t until the two cattle jumped the sagging wire fence immediately to my left, aiming for my car that I realized the true nature of the situation.
The cowgirl was urgently signaling me to slow down because of the stampeding duo. They must have escaped from their field on the north side of the road, the entrance to which I was now blocking, having slammed on my brakes at the pretense of having my driver’s side door be gored by wild-eyed, horned cattle. Just after they leapt in my direction, a cuss word slinging cowboy careened through an opening in the fence on a 4 wheeler, trailing the bovines at close range. Through my closed window, I could hear his string of expletives mostly involving F’s and A’s and holes, no doubt the cows and I being the intended recipients.
Just after they stormed past my headlights and I inched forward again, a second horseback cowboy came into view in the middle of the road 20 feet ahead. I gingerly arced around him and his horse then departed the chaos. I never saw the end of the story, having skedaddled out of there as soon as safely possible, but can only assume that the cattle made it back safely and the cowfolks headed home because on my return trip from the feed store, there was no activity in the total darkness of the corral.
And now, I have a few recommendations:
- If you’re going on a nighttime horseback ride, you need reflectors. Granted, when the cows escape, there might not be time to think about the fact that cars cannot see you at night. Your first thought may be only of getting the cows wrangled back into the corral. It is for that reason, just like a bike, your saddle or your stirrups should have reflectors. That way, even when you are in a non-thinking-about-your-own-safety state of mind, you will be safer in spite of yourself.
- If you’re a driver caught in this state of affairs, take no offense to the words hurled in your direction. Undoubtedly, the 4 wheeler cowboy was under a huge amount of stress, just forgive him.
- Don’t be in a hurry when driving on a dark country road at night. You never know what you’ll encounter.
All you drivers and cowpeople, be safe out there.
– The Goat Cheese Lady
P.S. Our boys, 9 and 12 years old, have been raising the chicks that caused this whole incident. Their goal is to sell all 42 of them to earn some money. At the time of this writing, the Dominiques are 3 1/2 weeks old and cost $6 each. The Delawares are 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 weeks old and cost $7 each. Each week they feed them, the price goes up. Call their answering service (me) at 719-651-9819 if you want some!